Pictures From the Tailgate and the Revenge Game That Really Wasn't

Typically noon kicks are not my cup of tea.  I feel like I'm putting things away two seconds after I unload them.  But this was a nice warmup to what is going to be a great season of copious food and drink.  It was great to see everyone again, and it will be great to throw some leis on and do it again in 9 days.  Special thanks to Mrs. Webmaster for throwing these together during a busy week!

To Hell with Notre Dame.

Looks Good. Feels Good. Is it Good?

Image by Bryan Fuller - MGoBlog

Image by Bryan Fuller - MGoBlog

Despite the blowout, Gardner's nearly perfect performance, two 100+ yard rushers, and Funchess putting the #1 jersey on for the first time since 2004...this will not be the game that people refer to when they are talking about the time Michigan played Appalachian State.  Oh well, good try David.

It's overreaction week in the college football world.  The week where you suck if you didn't cover the spread, and you are a world beater if you did.  What else do you expect in a society where we need answers to all of our questions and up to the second season predictions in the form of a live twitter feed that reports out at the end of each and every play from scrimmage?  TELL ME NOW IF WE ARE IN THE FINAL FOUR BASED ON THAT APP STATE GAME!  

Deep breaths people.  Let's all take a collective step back.  Big picture:  I don't think the offense is going to be as bad as we thought, and I don't think the defense is going to be as great as we thought.  Exchanging O and D randomly year to year, you can use that statement for any Wolverine team from the 80's through '07.

But we liked what we saw, yes?  I think we should be happy about that, level of talent of the opponent be damned.  Speaking of talent level, ASU was probably on par with last year's Akron or UCONN...with a result that was clearly not Akron or UCONN.  So, great!  But the result was also like CMU last year, a game in which I declared that the O-line was pushing everyone around.  So, maybe?

Image by Bryan Fuller - MGoBlog

Image by Bryan Fuller - MGoBlog

My bullets:

  • Funchess is the early leader in the clubhouse as the Wolverine most likely to join Tate and Denard as a recipient of the coveted but cursed (and imaginary) September Heisman.  He requested the #1, and then did his best Braylon impersonation by plucking under thrown balls from the hands of defenders for touchdowns.
  • There were holes to run through, and runners that hit those holes with more precision than I'm used to.  
  • There were blitzes and stunts and tackling of opponents receivers at the point of reception.
  • Special teams seemed to arrive in a normal length bus
  • It seemed to be real football...something I think I only saw on tv after I got home from Michigan games last year.

Looking ahead:

Notre Dame looked as good or better than us against arguably better talent.  This scares me because they also have a picture of Jesus on a wall that overlooks their field that likes to stick His nose into games now and then, and that's where this game will be played.


Staff Predictions

Everyone realizes we don't have a staff, right?  But we do have a Tuba, who says this:

We're back. Interpret that as you feel.

Eyes on Michigan's offense to start the season and more specifically Michigan's offensive line. Make the "let's hope their not offensive" joke here. But I'm most excited about our receivers. I anticipate 2007 Michigan citrus bowl level excitement about the passing attack which is just shy of "rich rod elite offense" level excitement.

Despite the idiocitiy of this first game rematch, I still like our chances.

UM 45
App St 24

Me?  I say this in bullet points:

  • Don't let them cross the 50 until late in the third quarter.
  • One special teams touchdown
  • Show no mercy

Michigan 48 - App State 10


No, no, really, I meant Akon. 


Tell me you didn't love Sweet Escape.  That whole woo hoo....WOO HOO...woo hoo....WOO HOO...that was awesome.  That was Akon.  

Man, Wisconsin got jobbed on Saturday night out in the desert.  But the thing about getting jobbed is, it can only happen if you put yourself in a position to get jobbed.  Don't want the refs to make a mistake that cost you a game?  Well, then don't need a field goal at the end to pull out a win.  Wisconsin's loss capped off a disastrous weekend for the Big Ten.  Good thing the writers, the pundits, and the pollsters will all forget how bad the league is by the end of the regular season.  Not to worry, we'll all remind them again during bowl week.

Games like Saturday's in the Big House happen.  It's just that, even in a world of worst case scenarios, they happen against teams at the bottom of your own league.  For example..."Oh shit, we were sleepwalking through that one and damn near lost to Indiana."  That is horrible, but acceptable.  But Akron?  Akron is the Indiana of the MAC.  This was impossible.  App State would beat the crap out of Akron.  

There should be a hangover from the previous week.  Notre Dame, as shitty as it looks like they are, was still a rival opponent on a huge stage.  Michigan should be looking ahead to the Big Ten...and probably should be thinking about resting up for a torrid November.  Michigan should look at Akron and think they are inferior, that they deserve no respect, and that the game is a joke.  Michigan should be ill prepared, and unable to get motivated for a noon kickoff.  Noon kickoffs in September are for the bottom feeders. 

And given all of those things, Michigan still should have won 156-0.

Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe the parity of college football trickles down to that level now.  Maybe the hodgepodge group of kids Terry Bowden threw together via FCS and juco transfers are really talented.  Honestly, there were a lot of times when I wished we had Akron's quarterback.  He's 1/10th of the athlete that Devin is, but he made great decisions all day, particularly when he fired the ball out of bounds multiple times when under pressure or when he couldn't find an open receiver.  That's what you do concede a play in order to avoid a colossal mistake.  You can't make every play, even against Akron.  

Devin threw like Denard on Saturday, and I'm talking first-pitch at the Tiger game Denard.  Any points he earned during Under the Lights 2 have been summarily erased.  Listen, I liked Denard Robinson, but the Denard Robinson years were not easy.  He was not a great quarterback, but he was a great "something."  He somewhat earned passes for his mistakes by occasionally winning entire games all by himself.  Devin hasn't earned shit yet.  We are not rebuilding from the smoldering ashes of the Rich Rodriguez era anymore.  This isn't funny.  This isn't cute.  Devin is not Denard.  Now, if Mr. Gardner heads into East Lansing and is a world beater against little bro, or if he pulls a game winning drive out of his ass in Happy Valley, or if he keeps pace with the Buckeyes and finds a way to get us to Indy on his shoulders....then by all means he can throw a pick six or two.  Until then, he's going to need to get his shit together, because I think he was an ass-hair away from being replaced by a true Freshman and starting a split faction Henson-Brady-like fanbase.

We were in a position where we should have lost.  And it's in that place where bad things happen.  Where things like what happened to Wisconsin happen. Do you remember the relief you felt when Michigan got into field goal range and was going to pull it out against App State? As bad as it was all game, everything was going to be fine and right with the......and then it was blocked.  And then it was over.  And it really hasn't been right since.  It could have happened again on Saturday.  Very, very, easily.  Could've been pass interference or defensive holding on that last play.  Terry Bowden could've pulled out that Boise State statue of liberty play....we would have bit.  One less stop.  One more penalty.  One bad call.  One thing, anything, and the season would have ended in week three.  That's why you put teams away.  That's why you step on necks.

They're saying today that good can come of this.  That this is where we rally the troops, and that we are lucky that we got a wake up call without having to take a loss.  I guess.  But I don't think we are going to wake up a find that our offensive and defensive lines suddenly don't suck, or that Devin has decided to suddenly play smart football.  I guess maybe it will wake up the coaches, and remind them that they need terrific schemes because the personnel is not quite ready.  

Damn.  What a difference a week makes.

East coast bound...GO BLUE!